Everton manager Frank Lampard insists he is prepared for the relegation battle ahead and remains optimistic about their chances of success.
A return of just nine points from the last 57 – with just two league wins since September – has left the Toffees in real danger of dropping out of the top flight for only the third time in their history and first in 71 years.
Included in that woeful run is a victory against Arsenal and draws against Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham, who beat them 5-0 on Monday.
They were unfortunate to lose 1-0 to Manchester City just a fortnight after beating fellow relegation strugglers Leeds and Lampard is keen to look at the wider picture rather than focus on the humiliation at Spurs.
“The message to the fans from my point of view is that I am very much ready for the fight and challenge,” he said ahead of Sunday’s visit of Wolves, by which time they could be in the bottom three.
“Nothing has surprised me since coming in: we wanted positive results every week, but the reality is that it wasn’t always going to be that way.
“I remain very optimistic and confident about the team, but the reality is we need results. Our position is what it is.
“Not many people asked me how much up the league we would go. From the beginning it was: ‘Will we get security?’.
“There is a reason why your league position is pretty true and you have to fight out of it.
“Sometimes it takes losing games and defeats to show that resilience that you can come back as a team. All we have to show is the fight and the character.”
Lampard’s issue is that confidence and morale are understandably low and he accepts he is responsible for changing that.
“It (psychology) is a big part of the job, I felt it as a player but as manager it becomes more clear,” he added.
“There is a huge part of how you get the place to feel and the environment and part of that is confidence.
“When results aren’t so good, it can be affected. As a staff, you have to try to inject confidence and let the players feel you are there.
“This world is so cut-throat now in terms of reactions to games and social media.”
One thing in Everton’s advantage is they have at least one match in hand over most of their rivals – crucially it is against fellow strugglers Burnley – and they may not need many wins to pull themselves clear.
However, Lampard has refused to set a points target.
“I don’t think you can, that would be relevant to what everyone else does,” he added.
“The next game is the most important thing and we have a lot of games, a lot of points to be played for.
“We should look at what is in front of us. The table can change pretty quickly.”